Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Sin of Sloth

Here is another convicting and frightening quote from Guinness' book The Call. This quote is from Václav Havel, the famous president of Czechoslovakia and first president of the free Czech Republic. Before rising to power and fame, Havel was imprisoned for his outspoken dissidence again Soviet totalitarianism. He wrote what are known as the Letters to Olga, which "has joined Dietrich Bonhoeffer's World War II Letters and Papers from Prison and Boethius's sixth-century Consolation of Philosophy as the three classic prison letters of the West.

For the quote to make any sense, I must use Guinness definition of sloth, which is, "a condition of explicitly spiritual dejection that has given up on the pursuit of God, the true, the good, and the beautiful. Sloth is inner despair at the worthwhileness of the worthwhile that finally slumps into an attitude of ‘Who cares?’”

In his Letters, Havel commented on how modern man has grown cynical, having "lost faith in everything." As he continues with this thought, here is what Havel writes with what I consider an ominously prophetic voice:

The temptation of Nothingness is enormous and omnipresent, and it has more and more to rest its case on, more to appeal to. Against it, man stands alone, weak and poorly armed, his position worse than ever before in history. The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less…

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